08 October 2006

Anna Politkovskaya murdered

The murder of Anna Politkovskaya - one of the most controversial Russian journalists echoed through most of the main media organs in the West. She was a thorn in the backside of the successive Russian governments who's inept and genocidal treatment of Chechen rebellion she presented to the world in a harshest light.

Politkovskaya fell seriously ill with symptoms of food poisoning after drinking tea on a flight from Moscow to southern Russia during the school hostage crisis in Beslan in 2004, where many thought she was heading to mediate the crisis. Her colleagues had suggested the incident was an attempt on her life.

She was one of the few people to have entered the Moscow theater where Chechen militants took hundreds of hostages in October 2002 and tried to negotiate with the rebels.

"Anna was a hero to so many of us, and we'll miss her personally, but we'll also miss the information that she and only she was brave enough and dedicated enough to dig out and make public, and that's a loss that I'm not sure can ever be replaced," said Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Politkovskaya's death is the highest-profile killing of a journalist in Russia since they July 2004 slaying of Paul Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.
The mention of of Paul Klebnikov's slaying is worthy of special attention: the MO was similar, with a gun left at the murder scene. It is obviously not a random murder. Even the authorities confirm that the murder is directly related to Politkovskaya's professional activity, and there are indications that her ongoing investigation of the circumstances of the Nord-Ost tragedy was a contributing factor.

The ominous silence of the pro-government (or, rather, anti-Politkovskaya) Pravda and Izvestia the day after the murder is especially telling. At least for anyone who is familiar with the Russian establishment's thunderous silences...


Update: For a much, much better post on the subject, go there.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com